"I think we are living in selfish times. I'm the first one to say that I'm the most selfish. We live in the so-called "first world", and we may be first in a lot of things like technology, but we are behind in empathy."
- Javier Bardem
Oh the ever-popular hashtag.
I use it all the time.
I use it to remind others that what they are complaining about is minuscule compared to what is happening to so many other people.
And I am sincere. I really am.
But I have to stop and remind myself that some of the things I find very challenging at the moment can certainly fall under this category.
Making lunches for three boys when I'm tired.
Going to the third hockey rink of the day when I already have a sore throat.
Finding that someone left a handful of kleenex in their pocket before I do a huge load of laundry and then have to pick little pieces of white facial tissue off of every piece of clothing I pull out of the dryer.
Seeing that it is snowing in April. Again.
|I know we had a mild winter, but it's almost May people.
Oh boo fucking hoo…I know.
But I am reminded lately that while in the grand scheme of things these are, in fact, first world problems, to me…lately…they are difficult things to deal with.
This is what depression can do to someone.
And here I will interject that I'm sorry.
The Hugging Home is not a "depression blog". Far from it.
It is just what I am working through right now and so it's what I'm writing about. Eventually I hope to be back to other subjects - but I think some of what I am saying these days can resonate on some level with anyone.
But as I always do…I digress.
So back to the "first world problem" thing. I need to watch what I say. I need to be mindful that everyone has their own, personal daily struggles - as I do.
I mean, if I complain on, say, social media, that my son wet his bed yet again…and someone responds with "Ahhhhh…first world problems", I am generally the first to laugh it off and agree. Because it is true.
But at the same time I may be crying because I have not slept in three days.
The key, I know, is to adjust my reaction to such things - and trust me - I am working on it. But some days it is really hard.
I know. Boo fucking hoo.
There are wars going on. There are terrorist attacks happening left right and centre. There is global warming. There are people fighting terminal cancer and ALS and countless other horrible diseases.
There is Donald Trump.
|Now this guy has the potential to be a big problem.
His hair? #firstworldproblem
Actually, I lie. It is also much more serious than that.
But to be serious…the above are massive problems. Tragic problems.
But I fight my own battles.
And so does everyone else.
It's OK to have a bad day. It's also OK to express that.
What we need to do is balance that all with perspective.
I have three healthy and beautiful boys. I own a house. I have amazing family and friends. I have a supportive partner. I live in a wonderful country. I have a job. I have food to eat. And I could go on.
Many people have these things. But many people have their struggles - be it with depression or just being overwhelmed by the pressures of daily life.
Life ain't always easy. And we need to realize that a gentle word or a kind gesture could make all the difference in someone's day.
Does this mean we should turn a blind eye to the bigger-picture issues of the world?
Of course not.
We need to examine the problems of the world that need work - pick the ones that are important to us - and then DO something about them. Do your part.
But in the meantime…let's simply be kind.
And I send this as a reminder to myself as well - because sometimes I get egocentric and in my own head with my own struggles so much that I - often subconsciously - brush aside the struggles of others with the old #firstworldproblems reminder.
Now I have a sense of humour. If I ever complain that there is a baby crying in my first-class airplane flight to my 5-star resort in the Bahamas, please tell me to shut up.
But more commonly, we are all looking for a little validation that we are not alone. That parenthood, or single hood, or living in the hood, or being little red riding hood all have their shit-ball moments. It's OK to say "I'm overwhelmed!" - in search of someone to tell us that it's OK.
Life is beautiful. And life can suck.
And that IS life.
Let's all try to make it a little easier for each other by offering a friendly smile. A hug. A random act of kindness.
Because what we give…we will get back in spades.